What To Do As You Stand At The Starting Line

Some of the toughest decisions we face in our life are whenever we first step up to a starting line. Once we get going we’re alright, but those first few steps are always the scariest. In fact, some of us don’t even start. But if you truly desire to make an impact on this world you are going to have to risk moving beyond the starting line.

personal development, start, jump, Darren A Cooper, leadership, growth, productivity

If you hang around me for any length of time you will find out one glaring truth. I am a chicken. This especially rings true when it comes time to jumping into any type of river, lake, or pool. 

A couple of weeks ago a few buddies and I decided to rent a boat for the day. I absolutely love boating! I enjoyed the cool breeze as we went zipped around the lake. After a while, we decided to find a quiet swimming hole to enjoy.

As soon as we tied off, everyone was in the water…except me. I was physically ready to jump in. Sunscreen was applied heavily. The swimsuit was tied tight. My body temperature was ready for the cool embrace of the water below.

But mentally I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t jump.

Standing on the edge of the boat all of the “what ifs” ran through my head. What if it’s too cold? What if jump on something and get hurt? What if the Loch Ness Monster is real and decides it’s my turn?

My mind left me paralyzed, refusing to let me get from where I was to where I wanted to be…the water.

Finally, (after a long period of time and plenty of excuses to why I wasn’t jumping) I was able to take a deep breath. Face the “what ifs”. And jump. Boy was I glad I did!

Digging Deeper

As I ponder this story I can’t help be see how often we treat our dreams much like I do jumping into a body of water. We have everything that we need. We’ve read all the books. Taken the right classes. Talked with our coaches and consultants. All in a desperate attempt to be “prepared”. Only to stand at the edge of the boat refusing to jump.

I found this to be true just this week. There I was sitting at my computer taking in yet another webinar. My hopes being that this time, I would learn the key to finding the loophole in achieving my dreams. As I sat there, honestly enjoying myself, it hit me. I have everything I need to be successful, chase my dreams and make an impact. I just need to start.

I was reminded of this as I read one of Jeff Goins recent blogs entitled, “7 Things Professional Writers Know That Amateurs Don’t”. Jeff says,

“For most of my twenties, I jumped from one dream to the next. But through it all, I secretly wanted to be a writer. I watched friends bridge the gap between amateur and professional, and I wished I could be them.


Because I was envious of my friends’ writing success, I would try whatever it was they were doing that I thought made them successful. But the problem was I didn’t know what I was doing.


One writer I knew had a satire blog, so I tried writing satire. It didn’t work out; I just came off sounding mean. Another wrote about popular events from a faith-based perspective, so I tried that. That also failed. In fact, I made just about every possible rookie mistake.


What was I missing?


Turns out, I was still acting the amateur, thinking success as a writer was about finding the right idea or a big break. But the truth is that success in any field is more about commitment to a process than it is about finding one magic trick that will make it all come together.”

The same goes for you today. You don’t need to wait until you find that “one magic trick that makes it all come together”. You have the ability. The knowledge. You just have to begin moving forward.

What Next

I guess this begs the question – what are you going to do about it? Your dreams will not fulfill themselves. It takes effort and energy on your part. With one foot in front of the other, you have to keep digging. Stay committed. Then watch how success “finds” you.

No one ever said it would be easy or that you wouldn’t have bad days. I will be tough, but it will be worth it. So today, if you are like me and find yourself with your toes against the edge of the boat wanting to jump, but don’t feel ready. Take a deep breath. Face the “what ifs”. And jump!

Come on in the water is fine.

Question: Have you ever looked the “what ifs” in the face and jumped anyway? If so, how was it when you landed? 



  1. Awesome post Darren, love the story behind it all!

    You said “one magic trick that makes it all come together” while referencing the fears some people have of just jumping into things. I can’t agree more that there is no magic trick that is going to bring all of your hopes and dreams to you.

    There will never be a perfect time, you’ve got to create it. (Cheesy quote reference, but it’s true and I struggled with realizing this for quiet some time!)

    Just jump into the water like Darren did! 🙂

    1. Thanks Dustyn,

      You are exactly right. There is never a perfect time. Cheesy quote or not, it’s true. Thanks for taking the time to read and share your thoughts.

      Keep pressing in and #createyourart

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